Thu

29

Sep

2016

Wedding Magic

The last month and a half has been a complete whirlwind and a dream.

 

I married the love of my life, went on an adventurous honeymoon to Alaska, and embarked on a cross-country road trip to attend two weddings of good friends.

 

To summarize so many unforgettable experiences would be to do them all a disservice. Instead, I’ll share a series of tiny miracles that occurred on our wedding day and in the end let you know how it all relates to yoga!

 

An hour before our wedding ceremony, my dad told me one of the last things I wanted to hear – a storm was coming. Hogwash, I thought… My dad must be wrong because the forecast for that day was sunny with 10% chance of precipitation. How could a storm have materialized?

photo by: Julian Kegel

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Sat

17

Sep

2016

Cutting to the Core of Forrest Yoga

“Hey Shayna, your kind of yoga needs a rebranding,” a media pro told me a few months back. He'd been to one of my classes, and couldn't understand why the yoga I teach is called Forrest Yoga, after its founder, Ana Forrest. “Call it Power Core Yoga,” he suggested. “Or Hardcore Abs Yoga. It's all about getting a tight core, and who doesn't want that?”

 

“It's true, there's a lot of core work,” I told him. “You hold poses for longer and the sequencing can be intense, but having chiseled abs or a flat belly isn’t what it's really about.” I urged him to continue coming to class to experience the wider effects of his core work.

 

Core work is essential to Forrest Yoga, but all those abdominal exercises at the start of class and long-held poses are gateways to something more profound than a six-pack–something that is embedded deep in the cell tissue. Ana Forrest, in fact, reframes yoga as a kind of somatic hunt; we track sensations in our body, hunting their meaning. Through Pranayama and Asanas we feel for clusters of energy or prana that form blockages in the body. Working at the crossroads of the physical, emotional, and spiritual sensations, we feel for where our energy flares, dims, and pools in the body. In Forrest Yoga classes, students are frequently urged to “go deeper” in feeling and to “get curious” about the origin and quality of energy blockages.

 

The result of our hunt may be beautifully toned abs, but it’s certainly not the point.

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Mon

01

Aug

2016

Cool It!

By: Mary Aranas 

As the summer sizzles, and city and world temperatures seem to soar too, it is such a respite to be able to “retreat” to the sanctuary of our yoga mat, our hammock, our meditation cushion, our handstand, our flying silk, or our AcroYoga partner practice.

 

We are grateful to refresh our heart and soul, strengthen our body, and restore our resilience to face the world’s challenges and adventures.  We are aware that not everyone in the world has the resources or the physical opportunity to have the practice we enjoy.

 

And so we come to our practice with a renewed humbleness and thankfulness each time we do so.  Perhaps we dedicate our practice to those in need of peace in their life.  In need of freedom.  In need of sanctuary from the burning heat that life can blaze.  Can we, sweet yogis, be a cool coconut ice for our city, in our world?  

 

 

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Sat

12

Mar

2016

IT’S NEVER TOO LATE TO LEARN TO FLY

BY VICTORIA MORAN

I wandered into Om Factory in Union Square last April, scheduled for an aerial class. I’d recently had a big birthday. Not 30 or 40 or even 50: it was 65, the age at which the U.S. government itself says, “You’re falling apart. Here: have a Medicare card.”

 

I certainly didn’t feel that kind of sixty-five – I’m a longtime vegan and take decent care of myself — but when the instructor, Kristina, greeted me with “Is this your first time?” I said, “Yes, and I have lots of injuries, and I may be too old for this.” She said, “You’ll be fine,” as if she really believed it. And she was right.

 

The yoga swing wasn’t new to me. Before moving to New York fifteen years ago, one hung in a spare bedroom in my house in Kansas City, a therapeutic tool to help with one of the injuries I’d mentioned, cervical discs rather dramatically herniated from a car accident. Consequently, going upside down in that first class was familiar and fabulous, but afterwards my fingers felt as if they’d been run over by farm machinery. Still, I knew I’d be back: I had to get to go upside down again.


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Sun

03

Jan

2016

OMFactory's annual Trip to India

BY TARYN VANDER HOOP

I walk out of the airport into the sweet and sticky Indian air to see a tall gentleman with a sign that reads “Taryn Van”. This is the first time, and probably the last, that anyone has ever picked me up at the airport with a sign, so I’m feeling pretty top notch, even if only half my name made it onto the paper. In the words of my father as we set out of the driveway on every family vacation, I think to myself: This is gonna be great!


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Tue

10

Mar

2015

Reflecting on Om Factory's Journey to Southern India

BY DANIELA MORELL

My practice needed a kick and holy cow did it get one. Traveling over 11,000 miles to roam southern India with an exquisite group of international yogis was so special. Little did I realize before I left just how rich visiting temples and traveling among the people could be to understanding what happens on the mat. Coupled with the gorgeous sweaty cycles of asana every day in our little traveling ashram of 11, I’m feeling something new inside.

The whole trip was yoga. Wrapped in color, spice, and heat, with jasmine in our hair and nibbles of the Tamil language on our tongues. Days were spent immersed in a world of Hindu philosophy whose manifestations permeate every last turn from the dark buzzing depths of crowded ancient temples to the iconography decalled on the speediest of zigzagging busses. Long asana practices followed by plenty of time together to continue discussions about poses, mantras, kirtan, meditation, history, and religion was truly immersive.


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Tue

11

Nov

2014

Challenges: On and Off the Mat

BY KAT SCHAMENS

In my practice lately, I’ve been focusing on how challenges present themselves in our lives both on and off the mat. I met with my pattern maker the other day to discuss some designs that I had in mind for the upcoming season. (Oh yes, in case you didn’t know, I design a yoga apparel line, KAT, specializing in awesome funky pants. You can buy them at Om Factory!) He looked at the sketches and his response was, “I want you to design something that will kill me.” I was taken aback at first, in my mind the more simple the better. It takes less time, less energy, all in all, it’s less stressful and easy. Coming from the eyes of a professional, it makes sense. It’s my pattern makers job to create patterns and in order to become better he has to challenge himself. Otherwise, he would just plateau at this place of success and become comfortable with what he is working on, leaving him little room to evolve.



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Fri

10

Oct

2014

Can you read the signs?

BY IRINA GAISTER

My practice needed a kick and holy cow did it get one. Traveling over 11,000 miles to roam southern India with an exquisite group of international yogis was so special. Little did I realize before I left just how rich visiting temples and traveling among the people could be to understanding what happens on the mat. Coupled with the gorgeous sweaty cycles of asana every day in our little traveling ashram of 11, I’m feeling something new inside.

The whole trip was yoga. Wrapped in color, spice, and heat, with jasmine in our hair and nibbles of the Tamil language on our tongues. Days were spent immersed in a world of Hindu philosophy whose manifestations permeate every last turn from the dark buzzing depths of crowded ancient temples to the iconography decalled on the speediest of zigzagging busses. Long asana practices followed by plenty of time together to continue discussions about poses, mantras, kirtan, meditation, history, and religion was truly immersive.


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Fri

10

Oct

2014

Staying balanced as the leaves are falling

BY EMILY

Fall is such a beautiful time in NYC! The air is crisp and cool, the leaves are changing, Halloween is afoot…the medieval festival at Fort Tryon Park is one of my favorite autumnal harbingers. It’s a little cheesy, sure, but who doesn’t love a smoked turkey leg and a paper cup of mead while listening to minstrels?

I’m soaking up the pleasures of fall in particular this year because I’m going to miss a big chunk of the season for a five and a half week trip to Shanghai. I love New York City so much, I’m getting separation anxiety just thinking about spending such a long time away, to say nothing of the time away from my husband! From an Ayurvedic perspective, my own Vata qualities, mixing with the cool, windy Vata energy of the season is not helping me to have a healthy perspective on this, either.

When the seasons change, we all tend to get a bit off kilter, and whether you’re Vata or not, the flighty energy going around can make transitioning extra hard. So, how do you manage to stay centered, and move forward into the colder, darker months feeling positive, and nourished? There are a lot of things to consider, what you eat not being the least of them. Eating seasonally (and I don’t mean your coffee shop’s pumpkin spice latte) can help you connect to the cycles of the earth. Try roasted winter squash with dinner, steamed sweet potatoes with butter or olive oil (or pumpkin seed oil, for an especially rich-tasting treat) for breakfast, or baked apple with brown sugar and spices for desert. You’ll warm up to winter in no time.

 

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Fri

10

Oct

2014

It’s always there

It’s a never-ending cycle. This adult life we are meant to live rarely comes with detailed instructions. I wish someone would just tell me how to solve the puzzle, but those instructions never show up in my inbox. Rather, we journey through each experience with our heads held high or rolling through the mud complaining the entire way. This pattern of change in my life is a continuous constant. The roller coaster ride will keep going. I know I will become stronger and the ride just might get easier.


When my life starts to fall apart, the first thing to go is my yoga practice. It was easy to let go of, deem it disposable, and brush it off as unimportant. But as the years go by, I find my yoga practice to be the most dependable constant; always patiently waiting for me to return. I always imagine my inner yogi high-fiving myself when I dive back into practice. Most importantly, it awaited my return without judgment; every time welcoming me to jump in and let me go of wherever I wanted to go.



Yoga creates the space that we need, especially in times of chaos. Yoga provides movement through asana to create space in our body. It provides techniques for meditation to discover space in the mind. It stimulates our soul by allowing space for a spiritual practice to evolve.


All these types of space construct the possibility of trusting and relying on my own practice. I like to say that yoga keeps me sane. What I really mean is that it lets me slow down and breathe; making space to deal with whatever shows up in my path. I am able to be comfortable with the uncomfortable; to let the world around me fall apart and be okay with it because I will always have myself and my practice. For all of these reasons, no matter how busy life gets, I make sure to make time and space for my yoga practice.


Life will always prove unpredictable, but your yoga practice is just that… yours. No one can take it from you, it’s always there.

 

By Kelly Jo Reuter

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